CONTRAVENTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ORDERS
1:00PM Sunday 3/2/2019
A 50-year-old Surfers Paradise man is facing bomb hoax, assault and stalking charges after an alleged domestic violence incident resulted in the emergency evacuation of Brisbane Airport's international terminal last night.
- A Surfers Paradise man will appear in court on Monday on multiple charges
- Police alleged the incident was domestic violence and not terrorism-related
- One witness, who said she saw a man with a knife, said the incident looked like a "family feud"
Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the incident was highly volatile and absolutely life-threatening.
"First responders, including the Australian Federal Police, security officers at the airport and ultimately Queensland police, were faced with a dynamic and a very real situation that was initially in its perception, absolutely life-threatening," he said.
Witnesses reported seeing a man with a knife and hearing shots just after 8:30pm but police said there were no reported injuries.
Police decided to evacuate the airport after finding what they believed was a suspicious device.
Police Commissioner Stewart said it appeared to be a sophisticated device and "clearly indicates just the extraordinary lengths that a person has gone to to create perception of risk, threat and fear".
Officers negotiated with the man before firing beanbag rounds to subdue him.
Superintendent Tony Fleming said the rounds struck the man in the torso.
"He's been examined by [paramedics], he has no significant injuries," he said.
The man was taken to the Brisbane watch house, where he was charged this morning with staging a bomb hoax, making a false statement, assault, contravening a domestic violence order, stalking and stealing.
He is due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court tomorrow.
The incident caused major disruption at the airport precinct as it was shut down and trains to the terminal were halted.
Police said there was no evidence to suggest the incident was terrorism-related.
"It's my understanding that the man approached a woman, that woman was known to the man," Superintendent Fleming said.
"There was some communication there and then he spoke with another female and it's at this point that circumstances deteriorated."
Witness Zoe Bickerstaffe said she saw an older man holding a small knife, and the incident looked like a "family feud".
"[He] got up and almost started chasing these two younger girls that looked like they were part of his group, he had a knife in his hand and then the girls started screaming, everyone started screaming and they just said 'get out he's got a knife'," she said.
Traveller Evan Wasuka, who had just arrived from the Solomon Islands, said security was "very firm" in moving people out of the building.
"All of a sudden, security started [moving] everybody out," he said.
"They were very rushed, they were very firm in moving people out of the door. There were a lot of them. It all happened pretty fast."
The terminal has since reopened.
A spokeswoman for Brisbane Airport said flights were delayed by one to three hours on Saturday night, but that by early Sunday morning no flights were delayed due to the security incident.
Police also conducted searches on the Gold Coast in relation to the airport incident.
About 9:00pm, they placed an emergency exclusion zone around a car park in Surfers Paradise, where the bomb squad examined cars and a nearby apartment complex.
But police declared the area safe and revoked the exclusion zone at 1:40am.